Advocates for Children and Youth

Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) was founded in 1987 by a group of prominent child advocates in Maryland who saw the need for an independent organization to advocate for the needs of the state's children and families in the community, the media and the public policy arena. Since its founding, ACY’s mission has been to identify problems, promote policies and programs that improve results for Maryland children in measurable and meaningful ways, and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies for the state's children and youth. Its goals include ensuring that children have access to affordable, quality health care coverage in Maryland. See below for more information about ACY’s recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

QHPs & EHBs

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  • ACY Expresses Concern about HHS's Proposal for Pediatric Dental Coverage to be Optional in Plans Offered in the Exchange

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    MD: Leigh Cobbs, Health Policy Director of Advocates for Children and Youth, was quoted in the Baltimore Sun expressing concern about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal that would allow pediatric dental coverage to be offered as an optional service in plans offered through the Exchange. The article notes that, if HHS finalizes this proposal, pediatric dental coverage could be very costly and deter families from purchasing dental plans. 
  • Want to Know What’s Going on in Maryland? ACY Released an Update on the State's Legislative Activity on Exchange Development

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) published a webpage providing updates on their 2013 legislative activity, including supporting the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 (SB 274/HB 208) which would expand the Medicaid program and continue to implement the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. In addition, ACY submitted proposed amendments to SB 274/HB 208 to strengthen the bill on former foster care children, continuity of care for serious pediatric dental conditions, twelve-month continuous enrollment, and developing a standing committee for on-going stakeholder participation.  
  • ACY to Maryland Exchange: Say Yes to Consumer Protections!

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    MD: Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) submitted comments to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) on producer appointments and their proposal to use application counselors as “in-house” brokers through the carriers. ACY argues that the two issues are linked and are concerned with the involvement of the carriers in the selection of a qualified health plan.
  • ACY Released an Informational Guide for Advocates on the State-Based Exchange

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    Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) released an advocates’ guide on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The guide provides background on components of the state-based Exchange including: (1) background on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012; (2) Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) that will facilitate the sale of health insurance through the Exchange; (3) dental and vision plans; (4) market rules for insurers; (5) the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP); (6) the Individual Exchange market; (7) Navigator Programs that will support outreach and consumer assistance; (8) risk adjustment and reinsurance programs; (9) the fraud, waste and abuse detection and prevention program; and (10) Exchange financing. The guide briefly discusses the future of health care reform in Maryland, stating that Marylanders should be proud of the state's progress and accomplishments to date.
  • ACY Submitted Comments on HHS' 2011 Essential Health Benefit Bulletin

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    Comments from Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) stressed the importance of: (1) defining a core or “floor” EHB standard for children; (2) providing further guidance and protections for pediatric dental coverage; (3) evaluating additional options for pediatric vision coverage; (4) defining medical necessity; (5) limiting insurer flexibility; and (6) assuring a transparent process for benchmark selection and updating benefits. In addition, ACY developed four guiding principles to establish an EHB. The EHB package must: (1) reflect and support the state’s commitment to a “culture of care” that actively promotes continuity of care and health equity and prohibits discrimination; (2) provide comprehensive benefits that are identified with maximum specificity and are balanced with and among the ten mandated ACA benefit categories; (3) be developed based upon an open and transparent process that is supported by public health and other appropriate expertise, and stakeholder and consumer engagement; and (4) enhance the potential for success of Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange. ACY is actively getting diverse groups to sign on to the Principles and will be sharing with legislators as well as using during the "Stakeholder Consensus Amendment" process for this year's Exchange Bill.

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